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Jake Hess

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Subject: Ronnie Self, Jerry Crutchfield, Gospel Music Hall of Fame, List of gospel musicians, Music of Alabama
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Jake Hess

Jake Hess
Birth name Manchild Hess
Born (1927-12-24)December 24, 1927
Limestone County, Alabama, United States
Died January 4, 2004(2004-01-04) (aged 76)
Opelika, Alabama
Genres Southern gospel
Years active 1945–2003
Associated acts The Statesmen Quartet, The Imperials, The Masters V

Jake Hess (December 24, 1927 – January 4, 2004) was an American Grammy Award-winning southern gospel singer.


Hess was born in Atlanta, Georgia.


Hess' career started at the age of 16, when he joined the popular John Daniel Quartet, making his recorded debut on "Just a Prayer Away". After that, he sang with three of his brothers as the Hess Brothers Quartet. He also sang with the Sunny South Quartet and their rival, the Melody Masters Quartet. In the latter part of his life, Hess sang with The Old Friends Quartet which was featured on the Bill Gaither Homecoming videos.

Statesmen Quartet

Hess sang lead with the Statesmen Quartet from 1948 until 1963. Their recordings included projects long-term with RCA Victor. In 1977-1978 Hess reunited with the surviving members of The Statesmen Quartet, Hovie Lister, Doy Ott, and Rosie Rozell to record three projects, including "Songs Elvis Loved". The reunited Statesmen had sung at Elvis' funeral. In the fall of 1980, Hess, Lister, Rozell, assembled a new group with James Blackwood and J.D. Sumner, as a result the southern gospel group the Masters V was born. They toured from 1981 until 1988 when illnesses prompted several of the members to retire from full-time singing.

The Imperials

Upon leaving the Statesmen Quartet at the end of 1963, Hess formed his "dream" group, the Imperials. Although They were not immediately accepted by his peers because of their innovative use of electric guitars and drums, they went on to become pioneers in Contemporary Christian Music, and would eventually be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. They backed Elvis Presley from 1966 to 1971. Elvis has been quoted as noting Hess as his favorite singer. Hess left the Imperials in 1967 due to health problems.

The Jake Hess Sound

Hess also sang with his children, Becky and Chris, in a group he named "The Jake Hess Sound". In the late 1970s Hess and his son Chris were featured singers on the television broadcasts of evangelist Dr. Gene Scott.

Solo career

Jake Hess was a noted soloist in his own right. He had won several Grammy Awards on RCA Victor as a solo artist. His last 12 years, he appeared on the Bill Gaither Homecoming concerts and videos. These videos featured Hess from noted concerts in the U.S. at the Kennedy Center, the Ryman Auditorium, and Hawaiian islands and Europe.


Jake Hess, Jr. has become a well-known southern gospel songwriter, in addition to being married to Judy Martin of The Martins. In 1989 Jake's nephew Steve Hess & Eugene Baker (Hess & Baker, Skylite/Sing) were in Nashville to record several segments on Bobby Jones Gospel (BET Network). Jake accompanied them to the studio and liked what he heard. While visiting with Jake in Brentwood, Jake asked if they would be interested in forming with him a new version of Jake Hess & Friends. The group would ultimately consist of Jake, Steve, Eugene & Chris, Jake’s son. They started rehearsals in Jake’s family room and started touring later in the year. There were several dates in Missouri and Florida, but Jake determined that the travelling was going to be more demanding than he anticipated, so by 1990 the tours were put on hold with the possibility of doing something with television.

Awards and Honors


Solo albums

  • 1962: The Great Voice of Jake Hess (BibleTone Records)
  • 1968: The Incomparable Jake Hess (RCA Victor)
  • 1968: Beautiful Isle of Somewhere (RCA Camden)
  • 1969: Ain't That Beautiful Singing (RCA)
  • 1969: Spiritual Reflections (RCA)
  • 1970: Everything Is Beautiful
  • 1981: I'm Gonna Keep On Singing (Skylite)
  • 1996: Terry & Jake (Terry Bradshaw) (Chordant [Gaither Series])
  • 2001: All of Me (Cathedral)
  • 2005: Gotta Get a God Said (Crossroads Records)

With The Statesmen

  • 1957: The Statesmen Quartet with Hovie Lister
  • 1958: The Statesmen Quartet Sings with Hovie Lister
  • 1958: The Bible Told Me So
  • 1959: Hymns
  • 1959: I’ll Meet You By the River
  • 1959: Get Away Jordan
  • 1960: Mansion Over the Hilltop
  • 1960: On Stage
  • 1960: Something To Shout About
  • 1960: Encores
  • 1960: Peace, O Lord
  • 1960: Statesmen Blackwood Favorites
  • 1961: Out West
  • 1961: Through the States
  • 1962: Stop, Look & Listen for the Lord
  • 1962: Camp-Meeting Hymns
  • 1962: Singing Time in Dixie
  • 1963: The Mystery of His Way
  • 1963: Message in the Sky
  • 1963: A Gospel Concert
  • 1992: I Surrender All
  • 1992: The Bible Told Me So
  • 1992: Get Away Jordan
  • 1992: Jubilee’s A Coming
  • 1992: Revival
  • 1992: O What a Savior
  • 1993: O My Lord What a Time
  • 1997: Hovie Lister & The Statesmen

Jake Hess and the Imperials

Albums with Elvis Presley

With the Masters V

  • 1981: The Masters V (Skylite Records)
  • 1982: O What a Savior (Skylite)
  • 1982: The Legendary Masters V
  • 1983: Featuring…
  • 1983: Live at the Joyful Noise
  • 1984: Thru the Years
  • 1984: Good Things
  • 1985: The Master’s Hymns


  • 1994: Hovie Lister And The Sensational Statesmen: An American Classic
  • 1998: Jus' Jake And A Few Close Friends
  • 2002: Old Friends Quartet: Encore
  • 2004: A Tribute To Jake Hess

Gaither Homecoming Performances

  • 1991: Homecoming
  • 1995: All Day Singin' with Dinner on the Ground “Waiting For His Return”
  • 1995: Revival “Prayer Is The Key To Heaven (But Faith Unlocks The Door)”
  • 1995: Ryman Gospel Reunion “Goodbye, World, Goodbye,” “You And Me, Jesus,” ”Sunday Meetin' Time”
  • 1998: Atlanta Homecoming “Where Could I Go?”
  • 1998: Down By The Tabernacle “Old Camp Meeting Days,” “Come Sunday”
  • 1998: Hawaiian Homecoming “I Don't Think, I Know,” “Jesus, I Believe What You Said,” “Over The Moon”
  • 1998: Marching To Zion “When He Calls, I'll Fly Away”
  • 1998: Rivers Of Joy “I Came To Praise The Lord”
  • 1998: Singin' With The Saints “He Keeps Me Singing,” “I Know Where I Am Now”
  • 1999: Kennedy Center Homecoming “Old Friends.” “It Is No Secret”
  • 1999: Singin' In My Soul “Wore Out”
  • 1999: Sweet, Sweet Spirit “I'm Telling The World About His Love”
  • 2000: Harmony in the Heartland “Thanks For Sunshine,” “Move That Mountain,” “Get Away, Jordan”
  • 2000: Irish Homecoming “No Fishin'”
  • 2000: Memphis Homecoming “Give The World A Smile,” “Up Above My Head”
  • 2000: Whispering Hope “Doesn't Get Any Better Than This”
  • 2001: Christmas... A Time for Joy “White Christmas”
  • 2001: Journey To The Sky “He Knows Just What I Need”
  • 2001: London Homecoming “Too Much To Gain To Lose,” “O, How I Love Jesus/To Me, It's So Wonderful”
  • 2001: What A Time “Oh, What A Time”
  • 2002: Freedom Band “I Shall Not Be Moved”
  • 2002: I'll Fly Away “So Many Reasons”
  • 2002: New Orleans Homecoming “When The Saints Go Marching In”
  • 2003: A Gospel Bluegrass Homecoming, Volume 1 “Sunday Meetin' Time”
  • 2003: Heaven “Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere”
  • 2003: Red Rocks Homecoming “I've Never Loved Him Better Than Today”
  • 2003: Rocky Mountain Homecoming “I Just Love Old People”
  • 2004: A Tribute: Howard & Vestal Goodman ”I'm Winging My Way Back Home”
  • 2004: Build a Bridge “Get Away, Jordan”
  • 2004: Dottie Rambo with The Homecoming Friends “Too Much To Gain To Lose”
  • 2004: We Will Stand “Sweeter As The Days Go By”
  • 2005: Hymns “Without Him”


  1. ^ Alabama Music Hall of Fame inductees

External links

  • The Imperials Official Site
  • Southern Gospel music
  • Jake Hess at Find a Grave
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